DevBytes: Intro to ActionBarCompat Support Library

Video

Google has extended Action Bar support for older devices (as early as Android 2.1) via support library 18.

This video provides an overview of how to update your existing app to use the new Action Bar apis and take full advantage of the Action Bar on older devices.

Those of you who have been using the 3rd party library ActionBarSherlock to date will notice that a similar approach has been used by google.

7 iOS Tips to Help you Avoid Common Memory Mistakes

Apple Memory Management

There is no argument to be had about whether ARC is beneficial. The reduction of boiler-plate memory code, is alone, enough to justify its use. The elimination of issues resulting from objects being incorrectly retained or released also saves developers untold hours debugging weird memory management issues.

However much ARC has simplified matters, issues will still arise if memory management is not adequately understood. These issues commonly fall into two categories, retain cycles and accessing released memory.

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Updating the Samsung Galaxy S2 to Jelly Bean

UPDATE: 6th Jan 2013, The Cyanogen team are now building CM 10.1 /Jelly Bean 4.2 in their nightlies. They have also improved their documentation. I recommend using their site for update instructions over this guide.

In a bid to get Google Now goodness on my Samsung Galaxy S2 I have decided to upgrade to Android 4 Jelly Bean . Waiting for Samsung to update anything is about as productive as watching grass grow, so I have opted to install a Cyanogen rom.

CyanogenMod 10 Jelly Bean I have been using Cyanogen roms since their early days with good results. They provide the latest tech, are stable, add a bunch of efficiency improvements and come with some nice UI extras (but luckily not the bloated overlayers that manufacturers sometimes add). I am currently using an old ICS nightly build which has been so good I never felt the need to switch to the release version when it became available.

If you want to update your phone to the latest Jelly Bean goodness read on… be warned, by doing so, you risk bricking you device, voiding your warranty etc etc. Continue reading

Nexus 7 Tablet Charging Woes

ASUS Nexus 7 2012

Lately, I have been plugging in an ASUS Nexus 7 Android tablet to charge and while it has powered up, its battery has continued to sit at a very sad 0%.

We have a few test gadgets lying around at work and they can get a little neglected, with their batteries sitting empty for longer than is healthy. I had presumed that this had taken its toll on the Nexus and prematurely killed its battery.

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API Design for iOS and OSX by Matt Gemmell

API Design for iOS and OSX

I recently read a brilliant article about API Design by Matt Gemmell. The suggestions Matt makes seem so straight-forward that it is easy to pass them off as common sense.

However, many projects are not developed using these common sense suggestions. Clearly, this is a sign that there is much to be gained from formalising how APIs are written. Matt has also created a Cheat Sheet summarising his recommendations.

A worthwhile read. Thank you Matt.

Adding Older Simulators to XCode

The straight-forward way to add additional Simulators to XCode is via Preferences. XCode 4.5.1 comes preloaded with iPhone/iPad Simulators for SDK 6.0 and the option to download 5.0 and 5.1.

Xcode Downloads List

However other versions are getting little love. If you need to support clients on older versions of iOS this is a problem. Luckily, adding older Simulators to XCode is easy.

NOTE: XCode 4.5 has dropped armv6 support so can no longer be used to develop for iOS <4.3. Adding armv6 simulators such as iOS 4.2 to XCode 4.5 will have no effect, they will simply be ignored.

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Insect Eye Inspired Mini Projector

Fraunhofer Insect-Eye Inspired Mini Projector
Today I found myself discussing the likelihood of mini projectors replacing physical screens on mobile phones.

Imagine if you had a tiny mobile which allowed you to:

  • project onto any surface including a notebook, bag, wall, whiteboard
  • change screen resolution and size according to your needs, for example the size of a novel when reading or the size of a wall when watching wide-screen movies
  • interact directly with the projected images Continue reading

Hybrid Displays for Tablets – Surely this Wait Must End?

It’s been two years since I made my loud, bold proclamation that I would shun all tablets until I could have a hybrid display.

You see, in my mind, the perfect tablet would combine the rich, bright vibrant media consumption capabilities of AMOLED screens with the kind-on-the-eyes reading experience provided by something like Kindle’s eInk. Continue reading